During his Major League Baseball career, Derek Jeter was considered a pretty perfect baseball player. While he didn’t always display the greatest defensive range at shortstop, the Yankees captain had a knack for showing up in the big moment; both on and off the field, he always seemed to do things the right way. The Houston Astros, on the other hand, have been trending in the opposite direction.
With each passing day, the Astros sign-stealing scandal seems to get worse and worse; the club, the players, and Major League Baseball have all failed to cover themselves in glory. Unsurprisingly, Jeter recently deemed the entire situation a “black eye” on America’s pastime.
The Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal
Baseball, more so than other sports, is full of unwritten rules and traditions. One of those concerns sign-stealing; while it’s acceptable to logically deduce the meaning of your opponent’s signs, using outside assistance is frowned upon. The Houston Astros, however, crossed the line by a country mile.
As initially detailed by The Athletic, the Astros used a camera in center field to observe the opposition catcher’s signs. That video feed ran directly to the replay room; there, staff members would crack the code. That information, in turn, was used to alert the batter about potential offspeed pitches. Major League Baseball launched an investigation and confirmed virtually everything The Athletic heard from Mike Fiers.
While the league handed down a sizable sentence—general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch received yearlong suspensions, while the club was docked several draft picks and fined $5 million—the wound has continued to fester. Between the players’ lack of punishment and potential flaws in the league’s investigation, everyone from LeBron James to Mike Trout has put the league on blast.
Derek Jeter calls the sign-stealing scandal a ‘black eye’ on baseball
While Derek Jeter’s playing career might be over, the former New York Yankees shortstop is still involved with Major League Baseball as the Miami Marlins CEO. Understandably, he isn’t happy with the Astros’ actions and the subsequent fallout.
“It’s like a slow drip of responses coming out from everyone,” Jeter told reporters at spring training. “You hope at some point people can just move on. But look, it’s unfortunate. It’s a black eye for the sport.”
“When you talk about people trying to get an edge in baseball, I don’t think that’s anything new. People have been trying to do it for years,” the former Yankees captain continued. “But, obviously, people took it way too far. And there are penalties for it. They’re paying the price.”
“Regardless of what the penalties are, others are going to have their opinions on what they think should happen. You hope that over time it passes. But I’m sure this is going to sting for a while.”
Things are going to get uglier before they get worse
While his comments might not have been groundbreaking, Derek Jeter is right. Not only does the Astros sign-stealing scandal reflect poorly on baseball, but the aftermath isn’t going away anytime soon.
Spring training should represent a fresh start for Major League Baseball, but no one is happy. Fans of opposing teams feel like the Astros cheated their way to the title and escaped proper punishment; those in Houston feel painted as pantomime villains being targeted by false outrage. Rather than moving on, baseball fans are in for a season of vitriol, threats, and potential beanballs.
As the old cliche says, time heals all wounds. The healing process, though, doesn’t have to be quick or painless.